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Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises

anne hathaway catwoman the dark knight rises tom hardy bane

The Dark Knight Rises casting speculation can officially end right now - Warner Brothers have confirmed that Anne Hathaway will be playing Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, while Tom Hardy has been confirmed as Bane.

Catwoman has long been a fan favourite for Rises - despite that Halle Berry film - and Hathaway has been a front runner during recent casting calls.

In the comics the character is high class cat burglar of questionable moral character who forms a complex love/hate romance with Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Hardy, who was cast before Christmas and thought to be attatched to any number of roles, will play Bane, who - unlike the joke of a character portrayed in 1997's Batman & Robin - is actually a genius military strategist and fearsome soldier driven insane by the super soldier serum 'venom'.

Bane famously broke Batman's spine during a confrontation in the Knightfall saga in the early 1990s, forcing Bruce Wayne to relinquish the mantle of the bat for a time.

Christopher Nolan stated, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Anne Hathaway, who will be a fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story.”

On working again with Tom Hardy, Nolan said, “I am delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman’s most formidable enemies.”

This news couldn't have come at a better time, with 2012's other superhero movies gathering all the column inches in recent weeks.

We're particularly excited about the announcement that Bane will be the villain - and seeing Hardy bring the monster to life - might we be seeing the long-awaited adaptation of Knightfall? We can only hope.

The Dark Knight Rises is released July 20 2012.